A vaccine mandate “would not solve our acute current problem,” Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday morning.
“We wouldn’t break this wave with a mandatory vaccination – the effect would come much too late. [Instead] we need to reduce our contacts and the state needs to act in a united manner,” he said.
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The health minister added that he “doesn’t know whether focusing on this debate is right at the present time.”
Several leading politicians, including the state leaders of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in the south of the country, have called for compulsory vaccines for the entire population in recent days, as an unexpectedly severe fourth wave of infections has swept across the country.
Winfried Kretschmann, premier of Baden-Württemberg, told broadcaster ARD that “one must not forget – the fact that many people are not getting vaccinated means that we have to infringe upon the civil rights of others.”
Spahn said that he had concerns about the balance that needs to be struck between the powers of the state and the rights of individuals.
“It’s a question of freedom and responsibility,” he said, adding that one also needed to consider how such mandates would be enforced.
The Social Democrats, who are likely to lead the next government, have also distanced themselves from calls for general vaccine mandates, with one senior figure describing them as “unnecessary.”
7-day incidence close to 400
The latest numbers published by the Robert Koch Institute show that the 7-day incidence of infections rose to 399.8 cases per 100,000 people on Tuesday morning.
Some 45,000 new cases were reported to the federal disease agency for the past 24 hours, up from 32,000 a week ago.
In the past 24 hours, 309 people died after contracting Covid, compared 265 Covid-related deaths a week ago. The weekly hospitalisation rate – which has now become a crucial driver of Covid policy and measures – stood a 5.28 on Monday.
With hospitalisation incidences of three, six and nine, regions around Germany are expected to bring in tough new curbs to combat rising infections, including blanket 2G and 2G-plus.